Continuing lockdown in Kashmir could lead to new protests: CRPF

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Srinagar

An internal Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) assessment has come to the conclusion that a prolonged lockdown in the Valley could in fact be bad for security, Hindustan Times reported.

During the lockdown, troublemakers may get the chance “to start a new wave of protests and armed struggle”, the CRPF has said. Troops also may be more vulnerable to attacks as they are staying in temporary camps.

After the Centre read down Article 370 and revoked on August 5, seven additional battalions of the CRPF (which translates to about 75,000 jawans) were sent to the Kashmir Valley. The movement restrictions and intern shutdown continue till date – 130 days later.

The high number of jawans present could also make troops “complacent”, the CRPF has said.

“So far, the overall security situation has witnessed no major militant attacks (except few grenades throwing incidents or targeted killings) despite a spike in infiltration and movement of militants in the hinterland. A prolonged lockdown may give a chance for a new wave of protests and armed struggle to start again. Terrorists and OGWs (overground workers) may carry out reconnaissance and fine tuning of possible targets to start spectacular attacks at later stage at the behest of Pakistan, (which has been) desperately trying to get international support on Kashmir,” Hindustan Times quotes the CRPF assessment as saying.

Militants themselves are trying to prolong the lockdown by targeting workers from outside the Valley and shooting them, the CRPF has said. People were not being able to carry other their businesses, creating “unprecedented human misery and raising mass discontent forcing the international community to pressure India for restoring normalcy by lifting restricting, communications blackout, the release of preventive arrests and political prisoners”.

The CRPF does not see the troops being called back any time soon. “By now, it seems clear that these troops are going to stay for a longer duration, their Adhoc camps and convoy movements will remain vulnerable. Joint security flush out operations are a must, for now, to keep the militants away from striking distance and generation of quality intelligence inputs are very important which seem to have virtually dried up post-August 5,” Hindustan Times quotes the CRPF assessment as saying.

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